Bridgeton Landfill
6:06 pm
Mon May 13, 2013

Ruling Expected To Help Address Problems At Bridgeton Landfill

A ruling is expected Tuesday morning related to the Missouri Attorney General's lawsuit against the owners of the Bridgeton Landfill.

Attorney General Chris Koster sued Republic Services in late March over alleged environmental violations stemming froman underground fire that has been smoldering at the landfill for more than two years.

But Ed Smith of the Missouri Coalition for the Environment says the people who have been breathing in the landfill fumes need to have a seat at the table before a settlement is reached.

"The Attorney General's been negotiating with Republic Services and we want to make sure that the community that's impacted by the odors and radioactive waste at the landfill are a part of those negotiations before there is a settlement, so their interests are represented as well," Smith said.

Smith's comments came at a MCE press conference today. During the press conference, Smith displayed a map which, he said, illustrates the extent of people reporting the odor.

Currently, temporary relocation help is being offered to people within a 1 mile radius of the landfill (the blue circle below). Smith says the map, even though it's not scientific and utilizes citizen-reported observations, illustrates that the 1 mile radius is not enough.

The yellow pins represent odor reports to a MCE Google Doc on heavy odor days. The yellow pins are from 4/15, 5/7, and 5/11 only," Smith says. The map is not scientific.
Credit (Missouri Coalition for the Environment)

St. Louis circuit court judge Michael T. Jamison said his ruling Tuesday would not settle the case, but could help to address the problems at the Bridgeton Landfill.

Dawn Chapman lives in Maryland Heights, several miles from the landfill, but she says she can sometimes smell it in her home.

She says she's been fighting to get information about how the underground fire at the landfill is affecting her family's health.
And Chapman says she wants to be reassured that any financial settlement between Missouri's Attorney General and Republic Services will last into the future.

"If two years from now something comes up and more construction needs to happen, there's still money left over, there's still some way that we can be taken care of as a community," Chapman says. "And that we don't have to foot the bill for that, because we shouldn't have to."

Chapman says she also wants the state to warn residents of health hazards from the landfill in real time, instead of weeks later.

The Attorney General plans to hold a press conference tomorrow Tuesday morning to provide an update on the landfill lawsuit.

Follow Véronique LaCapra on Twitter@KWMUScience